A pencil named Excalibur

Charcoal self-portrait from my art school days, “Excalibur” in hand.

Brand loyalty’s a funny thing. I don’t mind switching between Windows and OS X on a daily basis. I request Coke out of habit, but you could hand me a Pepsi (or even an RC) and I wouldn’t care to correct you.

But mechanical pencils? Give me Pentel Twist-Erase 0.9mm or give me death!

I’ve used these pencils since they were recommended to me in an extracurricular figure drawing class I took during high school. I jokingly referred to my first as “Excalibur,” and the nickname stuck.

A few reasons why I love this pencil:

  • It’s easy to hold, with the right circumference and an understated but functional rubber grip.
  • The 0.9mm lead is closer to the width of a traditional pencil tip than the more common 0.5 and 0.7mm sizes.
  • You can twist the far end to extend the length of the eraser. Refills are infrequent, and replacement erasers are much harder to misplace due to their size.
  • They last a long time. I’ve only broken one after 5 or 6 years of daily use.
  • They’re extremely affordable and easy to find online or at any office supply store.

After Matt Bepler mentioned the pencil in a comment, it seemed like the right time to sing the praises of one of my favorite tools of the trade.

Now I’ll just bide my time until that Pentel endorsement deal comes rolling in…